Mets manager Terry Collins hopes to keep rotation healthy
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) Terry Collins has his projected top five starting pitchers together in spring training for the first time in two years. Now the New York Mets manager hopes they stay healthy.
''You see them feeding off one another. They're sitting there, five lockers next to one another. You keep those guys healthy and run them out there as much as we can and they're going to get people out and we're going to win baseball games,'' Collins said Monday as pitchers and catchers reported. ''If you can get 30 starts (each) out of those five guys, I'll take my chances.''
Likely opening day starter Noah Syndergaard, the only one of the quintet who has avoided surgery, spoke Sunday after arriving, and Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler gave medical updates Monday.
Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen have cut back on their workload early in camp.
''When you're talking about the injuries that occur to pitchers, a lot of has to with the fact that perhaps we throw too much too early. We're not going to do that this year,'' Collins said. ''You'll see tomorrow. There will be no throwing in drills. Dan and I sat down and figured out we can save a hundred throws a day by not having them throw in drills.''
Harvey missed 2014 following Tommy John surgery, was a dominant presence as the Mets won the NL pennant in 2015, then struggled to a 4-10 record last season before surgery in July to repair a thoracic outlet syndrome injury.
''I was able to (get into) my normal offseason program. That made a difference rather than when I had the Tommy John surgery and had the whole offseason off,'' Harvey said.
He threw early Monday morning.
''I saw the fire I've seen in the past,'' Collins said. ''He wants to be back on top. He likes to be the No. 1.''
The lone lefty, Matz is on a normal scheduled after he had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow and a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left shoulder.`
''Not pushing it too soon is kind of the idea, but I don't think anything's different,'' Matz said. ''I'm coming into the spring, in my mind, like it's a normal spring training.''
DeGrom was hurt in camp last spring training and struggled to get his velocity back. Wheeler had Tommy John surgery in March 2015 and his minor league injury rehabilitation assignment last summer was cut short after one inning.
''I'm not getting my hopes up for one second. I hope I'm good; I hope I'm ready. I've done everything I've could,'' Wheeler said. ''It hasn't been fun, I tell you that, down here watching these guys play on TV every day.''
Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo are also candidates for the No. 5 rotation spot. Collins knows he will have Wheeler for a limited number of innings; the manager said he would rather have Wheeler, who may appear in the bullpen, at the season's end rather than the beginning.
''We're going to get him ready to start,'' Collins said. ''We certainly think we're going to make a good run, and we'd like to have those innings late in the season when they're going to mean so much.''